University of Nebraska Medical Center

Get better RefWorks records from Google Scholar

By Cindy Schmidt

If you’ve ever imported a Google Scholar “hit”/record into RefWorks, you know that the results can be disappointing.  If you’re lucky, the authors names, article and journal titles, and page numbers will be formatted correctly.  The abstract, DOI, PMID and other useful (sometimes essential) information are rarely included.

If you’re willing to do just a little extra work (2 more clicks and a bit of scrolling), you can usually obtain a beautiful PubMed-quality, RefWorks record from Google Scholar.  Here’s how it’s done:

1.  To do any type of export from Google Scholar to Refworks, you must first visit the Google Scholar “Settings” page (cogwheel on Scholar homepage).

2.  Scroll down to the “Bibliography manager” section near the bottom of the page.  Change the default “BibTeX” selection to “RefWorks” and click “Save.”


3.  Now we come to the extra steps that you’ll need to take if you want a beautiful RefWorks record.  Instead of clicking on the “Import into RefWorks” link under the “hit” of interest, click on the “All __ versions” link.  This is your first extra click.


4.  Now look for a record from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (#1 in figure below). When you find a “hit”/version obtained from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, look to the right. Is there a “Full Version” link or “nih.gov” link on the right? If so, the record you’ve located is a PMC record not a PubMed record. Keep looking for another ncbi.hlm.nih.gov “hit”. The PubMed record from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov will often be among the last versions listed in Google Scholar.


5.  When you find the needed version, click on its “Import into RefWorks” link (arrow 2 in the figure above).

6.  If you’re not already logged into your RefWorks account, you will be asked to login.

7.  The beautiful record will appear in your RefWorks account.

8.  When you return to you Google Scholar results, you will have to use your browser’s “back” button to leave the “versions” list and return to your search results page.  This is the second extra click.

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